SAN DIEGO – High up in the peaceful mountains of North County lies a surprise few expect to see, or hear.
A distinctive hum mixed with squeals of delight echo through the canyons as people whoosh over tree tops, across the valleys and rivers of San Diego’s scenic backcountry. All of it the pride and joy of the “La Jolla Indian Reservation” who manage and run the three separate zip lines and campground.
Before you get to fly, you need gear and a quick safety lesson. Then you go on a 15 minute scenic drive to the first and longest zip line. You climb up a tower, get hooked to the cable, followed by a final radio check, and away you go for more than half a mile, hundreds of feet above ground and reaching speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.
The feeling? Exhilarating.
The view? Breathtaking.
“Keep it adventurous, keep it mountains, we got all these beautiful trees, all this beautiful land,” says Zip line manager Chad Gutierrez. He and tour guide supervisor Jezreel Cuero were born and raised on these lands.
“We’ve been playing on these rocks and mountains and trees in this river since we were babies,” says Gutierrez.
They’ve been riders from as young as 5-years old to a Carlsbad man who celebrated his 102nd birthday, setting a Guinness world record for the oldest person to ride a zip line.
“I’d love for everyone to come out here to experience this, it’s new and fun and exciting,” says Cuero who used to be a firefighter so safety is second nature to him. Every morning, he’s the one who rides each zip line and tests the braking system. He says a lot of people think riding a zip line is like a rollercoaster where you get that sinking stomach feeling but it’s not like that at all.
And the best part of it for Gutierrez, Cuero and all the tour guides who grew up in the area? “We get to meet all kinds of new people and go from there,” says Gutierrez.